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Somerset County Show 2019


Join me at the Somerset County Show next weekend September 21st -22nd at Taunton Racecourse (Row D, Stand 2)


A lovely family day out with lots of interesting things going on such as Clay Shoot, Fun Dog Show, Shetland pony Grand National, Celebrity Chef Cooking Demos and much more!!! 

See you there!!


Article published in September's edition of Honiton and Village News

September 2019

Contest Success for Upottery Designer

I finally found home… in my very late start in Garden Design.  I cannot imagine doing anything else now.  It is not surprising that many come to this profession later in life.  Life experiences can only make our work richer.

A few years ago I had come to a crossroads in my life, and I realized running a successful cleaning business just didn’t satisfy me anymore.  I frequently found myself thinking, ‘is this it?’ is this to be my life for as far as I can see? This terrified me. 

Horticulture and gardening have always been a passion so it was inevitable I ended up doing a diploma at Merrist Wood Agricultural College a number of years ago.  From there, I found myself following another lifelong dream of doing conservation work with orangutans in Borneo. I married a local Dayak tribesman and we had two children. It was a gateway to paradise, which still to this day, affects the way I work and see the world.  After living in Borneo for a few years and running a popular language school in our garden, we decided when our children were at pre-school age we would return to England.

Eventually I decided to take up the tutelage of Robin Williams and Moira Farnham in their highly esteemed Garden Design School in the wonderful setting of Bristol Botanical Gardens. 

The term garden design encompasses so many aspects to the space from geometry to engineering, that the perception that one might have about sticking a few pretty plants into a border is actually just one part of the multi-layered process of designing a beautiful but practical space for the recipient.

People, I think are often daunted by the prospect of hiring a garden designer and the cost of them, but we cater for most budgets. Furthermore, we work for the client not the landscaper so it is our job to get the best result for the best price, we can also save on costly mistakes too.  Further advantages about hiring a garden designer, is to overlap the strengths of landscapers.  There are a number of brilliant landscapers and I worked with some great ones.  But sometimes despite their excellent hard landscaping knowledge, many by their own admission find their knowledge of soft landscaping less thorough.

As a garden designer, clients give me all sorts of briefs.  Anything from creating a low maintenance space for the working professional who is time short, a simple re jiggle of the planting borders to a complete full makeover.  Frequently clients just don’t know where to start, the right plant in the right place - how to make the garden all come ‘together’.  It is my job to help them find their vision and make it reality. Clients even send me progress reports of their gardens with photos, which is greatly satisfying for both myself and the client. Many of them discover the hugely therapeutic benefits in an often overwhelming frenetic world we live in.

The cost of moving home for some is unfeasible, so one needs to be more creative and utilise to better effect the spaces they have.  There are a great many garden accessories on the market now, which has extended the time we spend outside to the point it effectively has become another ‘room’ to the house.  If you are considering moving, according to a survey by the Telegraph newspaper (03/05/16), it was suggested that doing a garden makeover can add as much as 20% to the value of your home.  A bit of direction may be all you need with some tweaking here and there,  and by contacting a garden designer to discuss the best way to achieve these improvements.

Recently I took had the great pleasure of taking part in the Taunton Flower Show with a fellow garden designer and friend, Muff Dudgeon.  The show is a wonderful family day out, and surprisingly the second oldest flower show in the world, after Philadelphia!

We worked in two teams of two and the competition titled ‘Ready Steady Garden’, required we dressed a simple terrace space with plants supplied by the sponsor (Wellington Slabs, who provided the terrace, borders and plants), in an hour.  It was great fun, although harder than it looks with an audience looking on, but we won!!!


We have been invited back to do show gardens next year. I already have a few ideas in mind.  In the meantime, if you have a garden, get out there and enjoy it.  It really is good for the soul.

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